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The Tillamook Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) unanimously affirms that Black Lives Matter in Tillamook County and pledge to do everything in our power to protect the rights of people of color in our community.

“We are fortunate that we have not had any terrible incidents of racial violence in our county like the tragic deaths of black citizens in other parts of the country,” said board chair Bill Baertlein. “I like to think that is because we have a culture of kindness and decency in Tillamook County, and those are the values I want to uphold. However, we are all aware that racism exists, sometimes hidden and sometimes right out in the open. As a commissioner I want to say, ”Not here, we will not tolerate racism in our community.”

Commissioner David Yamamoto is the liaison to law enforcement. “My biggest issues as a commissioner is the life, health and safety of every citizen in Tillamook County, by definition that includes black lives. Moreover, I am committed to the life, health, and safety of all people of color in our community and otherwise vulnerable populations.”

“Our Sheriff’s Office does a great job protecting all of the citizens of Tillamook County,” said Yamamoto. “They strive to operate from the values of Duty, Honor and Service in everything they do. We can and should be proud of law enforcement in Tillamook County. But racism is insidious, and we all have to be vigilant to root it out when it crops up.”

“One of the things I love about Tillamook County is that we are community minded,” said Commissioner Mary Faith Bell. “We come together in extraordinary ways to help one another and to be of service. I believe that those values shine through these dark times and will serve us in becoming more aware of the experience of black people and other minorities living in our community.”

“The racial tension and social upheaval happening in our nation is an excellent opportunity for all of us to grow in empathy and awareness and think about the experience we want for our neighbors and their children. As an elected leader I want everyone who lives here to feel safe and to be safe. I want all of our children, collectively, of every race, to feel loved and embraced and supported by our community. I

want mothers and fathers and grandparents of color to feel valued and included. I want Tillamook County to be a safe place where love prevails, and the golden rule is our guiding principle: do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

Tillamook's County Sheriff's Office Statement:

The fundamental duty of Office of the Tillamook County Sheriff is to serve our fellow man; to safeguard the lives and property of those in our community; to protect the innocent, the weak, and the peaceful against violence or disorder; and to respect the Constitutional rights of all men to liberty, equality, and justice.

It is our goal that the members of our office will never act officiously or permit personal feelings, prejudices, animosities, or friendships to influence our decisions. We will be uncompromising on criminal activity and will relentlessly prosecute those who would prey upon others in our community, we will enforce the law courteously and appropriately without fear or favor, malice or ill will, never employing unnecessary force or violence and never accepting gratuities. We will strive to do what is right even when no one is looking, and we will hold each other accountable for our actions.

Our badges are a symbol of public faith, and we accept it as a public trust to be held so long as we are true to the ethics of law enforcement. We will constantly strive to achieve these objectives and ideals, dedicating ourselves to the betterment of our society and profession. The Sheriff’s Office recognizes there are a lot of concerning things happening in communities all over our state and country. We believe in the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, who said, “Violence never brings permanent peace. It solves no social problem: it merely creates new and more complicated ones. Violence is impractical because it is a descending spiral ending in destruction for all. It is immoral because it seeks to humiliate the opponent rather than win his understanding: it seeks to annihilate rather than convert. Violence is immoral because it thrives on hatred rather than love. It destroys community and makes brotherhood impossible. It leaves society in monologue rather than dialog. Violence ends up defeating itself. It

creates bitterness in the survivors and brutality in the destroyers.”

Tillamook County Community Health Centers statement:

The Tillamook County Community Health Centers and the Community Health Council, acknowledge the tragic recent and persistent violence against our African American community. The more recent killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and countless others illustrate our society’s tolerance of racially driven brutality, violence, and marginalization of some of our most vulnerable populations.

Systemic racism in our communities is directly related to increased rates of unemployment, poverty, incarceration, overall mortality, diabetes and cardiac related mortality, infant mortality, and psychological distress. We also see this through the disproportionately increased numbers of African American, Native American and Latinx communities who have suffered from Covid-19 infections and increased death rate from such infections.

This systemic racism also leads to increased frequency and severity of childhood abuse, neglect and household dysfunction which has a direct adverse relationship to substance abuse, smoking, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, cancer, depression, suicide, and chronic lung disease in adulthood.

In addition, minority communities have decreased access to health care, lower high school graduation rates, and less access to higher education opportunities.

Our vision of health equity includes the commitment to tackle racism, prejudice, and violence against our minority communities, and mitigate structural racism in an effort to eliminate racially based disparities thereby improving the health of our entire Tillamook County community.

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